I’m a fan of what is often called Weird Fiction.
H. P. Lovecraft wrote weird, and China Miéville writes weird (get Perdido Street Station, it’s awesome). What follows is a story of mine that can only be filed in the weird fiction category.
I really should flesh the story out a little more and sell it to someone, but I like it the way it is right now, dirty and gritty and strange. Read it and tell me what you think… that’s what the comments are for. It is written in the second person, usually a big no-no, but I feel it works here.
Human Research Subject 377
Your eyes slowly focus and adjust to the dark. You are in a damp cellar, moisture leaks down the walls and there is some sort of growth in the corners. Greenish-black. A single dim bulb, naked and caged, vainly fights the thick darkness.
There is a man sitting in a chair in the center of the room, sweating and staring at a large screen. He is watching what appears to be a security camera feed, and on a small table in front of him there are two buttons. The man is leaning forward in a rather uncomfortable pose, and as you shift, quietly, you see that there is a metal rod across the back of his shoulders.
The man twitches into action, frantic, spurred on by something occurring on the screen. His right arm shoots forward, and stops, hovering above one of the buttons. His eyes are wide open, studying the screen.
“I don’t know what you want!” he says, just shy of panic.
His head moves from side to side, taking in all the action of the screen. It looks like the place where people put their cars.
Isn’t there a word for those?
You wonder why you can’t remember such a simple word; the place, the building where you leave your car when you have something to do. The concept seems slippery, vague. You smell the urine now, and notice the puddle under the chair the man is sitting in. It brings to focus your own need to urinate. Something stops you as you try to step closer, a pull on your leg. Shackles, and a chain to the grimy wall.
“There!” The man slams down on one of the buttons just as a woman, silvery-green on the security feed, opens the trunk of a car. He then appears to have changed his mind, shakes his head frantically and looks around. The woman on the screen senses something and turns, looking for what alarmed her.
You wonder why none of this frightens you, look down at the shackles on your leg again and wonder why they don’t bother you. You feel something happening in your mind, a slow thawing of some sort, and the subsequent single clear stream of thinking.
Where am I?
The sound of heavy breathing brings you out of your shallow reflection. The man is testing the steel holding him in place. Pulling and pushing. The man starts, and you hear a faint buzz. He stiffens and moans. He stops squirming and stares back at the screen. The woman is gone, and in place of the parking garage
(there it is, that word)
is a barn. The barn door swings open, slowly, and closes again. It is night wherever the barn is. The point of view changes, moves slowly towards the barn, and it is clear that someone is carrying the camera recording the video.
The man in the chair slams down on the white button and is immediately punished with a blast of electricity. It goes on for a while, but finally the man stops twitching. You know you should be horrified at this, and at the fact that the smell of the burning flesh is making you salivate, but it does not come. The bridges connecting Thought and Emotion lie broken.
Am I drugged?
There is the sound of footsteps, and your mind pays attention to the concrete stairway long seen, unregistered, by your eyes. A figure descends, dressed in creamy white from head to toe, with a mask covering the face. The mask is translucent, it disturbs you. It is the first real thing you have felt since… since what? Since waking up? Coming to? Regaining the power of memory? You are not sure.
The figure walks over to the chair and unfastens the now lifeless man. He (you are sure it is a he) drags the body away, out of sight, into the darkness behind the stairs.
You clench your fist and feel pain in the palm of your hand. “Defensive cuts,” your mind informs you as you inspect your hand, and there is that thawing sensation again. A single repaired bridge in your mind drives the thought home, and a small amount of adrenaline is released. The figure re-emerges from behind the steps, really a half-wall with the last step in the exact center of the basement, just behind the chair. He is walking towards you, and a sleepy feeling of relief seeps through you.
You should not trust it.
The white-clad man releases your shackles and grabs you by the arm. He holds your upper arm and leads you towards the chair. There is a brief moment where you are sure you should be resisting, but it passes, subdued by the syrup that is slowing your thoughts and emotions. The figure places you in the chair. Your legs are shackled to a single chain link in the floor, your body propped stiff with metal against your shoulders and lower back. In front of you is a table with two buttons, and on the wall in front of you is a screen, now showing an empty wooden boat bobbing in the water against a small rickety pier. The scene looks familiar.
“We are here to help,” the figure says, voice muffled behind the mask. “Watch the screen, and if you think something should be made permanent, press the blue button. If you want to alter the dynamic or the substance count, press the white button. We must learn. We are here to help.”
You hear something behind you then, and turn your head and see a person, sleeping or dead or drugged, being dragged down the stairs. He is then chained against the wall, in the corner where you stood moments ago.
You focus on the screen and hope you make it longer than the man who was in it before you.